Community Engagement

Addressing the needs and interests of our diverse communities locally, statewide, nationally and internationally.

Signature Partnership Initiative

The Signature Partnership Initiative is UofL’s place-based initiative working in collaboration with residents and organizations serving west Louisville.

The Signature Partnership is a University effort to enhance the quality of life and economic opportunity for residents of west Louisville.  The goal is to work with various community partners to improve the education, health, wellness, and social status of individuals and families who live in our urban core.  Working closely with community, residents, Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville Metro Government, Metro United Way, the Urban League, faith based organizations, and many others the University has coordinated and enhanced existing programs and launched new programs designed to eliminate or reduce disparities that West Louisville residents experience in education, health, economic and social conditions.  The University is drawing upon the expertise and energy of faculty, staff, and students from every school and college at UofL to deal with the quality of life issues affecting our community.

Overarching Goal Statement

In collaboration with community partners, enhance quality of life for residents in west Louisville by improving the overall educational attainment levels to equal those of Metro Louisville in general, through the integrated enhancement of health, social and human services, and economic viability of the community.

Programmatic Objectives & Examples of the Work 

Educational Attainment 

UofL faculty, staff and students are teaming up with community partners to work with teachers, parents and students in schools in west Louisville. 

Economic Development

Both academic and administrative units at the university continue efforts to increase economic opportunities in west Louisville through activities focusing on job creation, business development, entrepreneurship, and financial stability. 

Social & Human Services 

In its first decade, the Signature Partnership Initiative worked with over one hundred community partners in activities to build capacity for social and human services and in creating more sustainable neighborhoods in west Louisville. 

Health & Quality of Life

Improving health and quality of life in west Louisville is a key focus for the Signature Partnership Initiative. Many UofL academic and administrative units are involved in promoting the health of west Louisville and  providing health services.

Early Childhood Development

The College of Education & Human Development’s (CEHD) Early Learning Campus is part of the Louisville Scholar House Campus and is an exemplary early child development center, serving children from west Louisville and the nearby campus community.

Employment Opportunities for Residents

The partnership will allow participating CUMU member institutions to explore and advance an anchor mission—using their educational and operational place-based assets to advance the well-being of the communities they serve.

Enhancement of Social Service Providers

The Cardinal Success Program (CSP), directed by faculty from the College of Education and Human Development helps individuals and families through improved access to mental health services. In the latest program evaluation 57% of Academy @ Shawnee students were directly impacted, and the remaining 43% were positively influenced by the work of CSP.

Promotion of Health Lifestyles

Under the leadership of Anita Barbee, the UofL Kent School of Social Work is implementing pregnancy prevention programs and moving the needle in reducing teen pregnancy in west Louisville. One such project engaged 1,450 youth and 500 parents in 23 community based organizations, mostly in west Louisville.

Academic Performance of the Students in K-12

As part of the JCPS elementary student assignment plan, Atkinson Academy has been identified as the University of Louisville lab school. Since the spring of 2009 32 student teachers and 99 teacher candidates from the UofL CEHD have been placed at Atkinson. 

Business Development and Retention

UofL College of Business’ Small Business Institute provides counseling and consultation to small business owners, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs. It has served over 20 west Louisville businesses since 2007.

Parental Involvement (Training & Education)

Stepping Up 4 Your Child aims to enhance non-custodial fathers’ involvement with their children through a program of fatherhood and healthy relationship education. The program is a multi-site collaborative effort between the Kent School of Social Work and the KY Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Department of Income Support. 

Accessibility to Quality Healthcare

The Yearlings Club, a philanthropic organization in west Louisville, and the UofL College of Arts and Sciences have partnered for over a decade on examining issues of importance to the Louisville community, often with a special focus on west Louisville.  

High School Graduate Rates

Since 2001 about 90 Central High School Law and Government Magnet students are served annually through the partnership program with the UofL Brandeis School of Law, with the goal of developing a more diverse legal profession and building skills for success in high school.

Entrepreneurship and Wealth Creation

OneWest is a non-profit corporation that is establishing new pathways to generate sustainable economic development and neighborhood revitalization in west Louisville, in partnership with community residents. OneWest was conceived by a group of local leaders, including guidance from top UofL leadership.

Sustainable Neighborhoods

The CDC awarded the UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences $5.7 million to establish a Youth Violence Prevention Research Center, aimed at reducing violence among youth living in west Louisville through a youth-participatory media campaign and connecting young people to resources and services available locally. 

Arts and Cultural Activities

The Yearlings Club, a philanthropic organization in west Louisville, and the UofL College of Arts and Sciences have partnered for over a decade on examining issues of importance to the Louisville community, often with a special focus on west Louisville.  

Residents Obtain Bachelor's Degree

The Office of Community Engagement’s Upward Bound program annually serves around 100 low income and/or first generation college students with college access programs.



 *Adopted by Residents Advisory Council 3/12/12



Ten Years of Collaboration with west Louisville (PDF)

Signature Partnership Initiative 5-Year Progress Report(PDF)

Community Engagement

University of Louisville

2323 S. Brook St.

Louisville, KY 40208

(502) 852-6026

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M-F 8:30am to 5:00pm

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